Treebeard's Homepage : Stumpers

Treebeard's Stumper
15 February 2002

Redivider Words

Internet addresses like "DunnSchool.org" must follow certain rules. Letters, digits, and dashes are allowed in the domain name before the dot, but no spaces or other punctuation. Upper and lower case doesn't matter, so many sites like Dunn's use capital letters to separate words. So what about Justice.com (about law) and JustIce.com (nothing but ice). They must lead to the same Internet site since they are the same letters. The stumper is to find other interesting examples of character strings that can be broken up in different ways to say very different things. It's hard!

"Redivider" is a palindrome that reads the same forwards and backwards. This stumper is a different kind of word-play that redivides characters to say different things. "Justice" is an example of what Richard Lederer calls a charade word that can be divided into smaller parts that are themselves words. (In the game of charades, we act out the big words by dividing them into smaller words.) Joni Mitchell uses the charade word "justice" in a serious way in her song "Sex Kills" about the politics of STDs:

I pulled up behind a Cadillac
We were waiting for the light
And I took a look at his license plate
It said "Just Ice"
Is justice just ice?
Governed by greed and lust?
Just the strong doing what they can
And the weak suffering what they must?
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills, sex kills

Charade words are fun, and not too hard to find. I consider them interesting when the redivided words are related, opposite, funny, or naughty. At least they should make sense, and all letters must be used.

The real challenge is to find character strings that can be redivided across words. For example, artist oil and art is toil can both be carved from the character string "artistoil". Whole sentences might be possible, but thinking of web domain names is a good way to widen the field to meaningful phrases and fragments. You can check Internet names right here. Network Solutions and Domain-It! have more options and sell available names. I believe ICANN and InterNIC are ultimately in charge of domain names.

www. .com
.net
.org
      

The real stumper is: why is this stumper so hard?

Answer


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Copyright © 2002 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org